• NYC L-2d Mohawk #2933

  • Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.
Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

  by DonPevsner
(1)This locomotive, now at the National Museum of Transport in St. Louis,
somehow escaped the 1956-57 scrapping of other NYC steam locomotives
while sitting in the roundhouse at Selkirk Yard. At one point, employees there reportedly literally hid the locomotive from view by surrounding it with large boxes and other materials.

(2)QUESTION: How did the #2933 manage to sit for at least five years
at Selkirk without being "discovered" by NYC management and scrapped?
(She may have sat there for as long as 8 1/2 years, as the last NYC steam
to run in New York State was on August 7, 1953, when Niagara #6020
hauled Train #185 out of Harmon, NY.) I saw her in January, 1962 at DeWitt Yard, while under tow with the #999 for their respective museums. At this point, scrapping her would have been a large embarrassment for NYC management. Does anyone have any first-hand knowledge of the amazing facts surrounding the survival of Mohawk #2933?

(3)The only other surviving large NYC steam locomotive, L-3a Mohawk
#3001 (ALCo, 1940) was saved because the NYC sold it to the City
of Dallas, Texas, for display in a park there to replace a vandalized
T&P steam locomotive. Reportedly traded later for a PRR GG1, she is
now at the National New York Central Railroad Museum in Elkhart,

(4)Unlike the PRR, NYC management (chiefly Alfred E. Perlman) couldn't have cared less about saving several representative examples of the finest NYC steam (a J-3a Hudson, an L-4 Mohawk, and particularly an
S-1 Niagara). This wretched managerial conduct was, and is, a
crime against railroad history.

  by Noel Weaver
I feel the same way but it really wasn't a crime in the sense of the word.
We had the same thing on the New Haven Railroad but in our case it was
even worse, not one steam locomotive from the railroad was saved over
the long run.
Unfortunately, we as "outsiders" to railroad management can not dictate
policy and disposition of obselete equipment is a management decision.
I know some will disagree with me but in my opinion, the Perlman
management was a shot in the arm for the New York Central.
Mr. Perlman innovated in many different ways and probably kept the
Central in the black for a period of years. Too bad the dam takeover by
the PRR ruined much of the good things that he was able to accomplish.
Noel Weaver

  by Otto Vondrak
Before we damn Perlman for not saving any locomotives, I'd be curious to know if any serious offers for purchase or requests for donation were made by outside interested parties?
  by DonPevsner
At page 43 of "MEMORIES OF NEW YORK CENTRAL STEAM" (Carleton, 1980), author Arnold Haas states the following:

"In August, 1954 I paid Mr. Alfred E. Perlman, the new NYC
President, a visit in his office to persuade him to save at
least one Hudson, Mohawk and Niagara for posterity--but
to no avail. His death sentence over all NYC steam power
was final, but he gave me a permit for a ride in the cab of a
steam locomotive between Linndale and Cincinnati Ohio in both
directions with the sarcastic comment: "SO THAT YOU CAN SAY

This callous remark is the act of a cruel and heartless technocrat, whose
very presence at the top of NYC management sullied its history of over a century. The scrap value of a dozen NYC steam locomotives was relative petty-cash at the time, and, had the NYC offered display locomotives in the various states through which it passed, such (tax-deductible) gifts would have been readily accepted by local municipalities. A simple look at the record of PRR, AT&SF and many other prominent railroads will verify my assertion.

So, yes, Alfred E. Perlman should be damned and damned completely
in this sad and historically-meaningful matter.

  by R Paul Carey
AEP certainly was "insensitive" with regard to the preservation of historic railroad equipment, and we grieve the loss of all its "best" motive power.

It is a well established fact that, in 1954, Perlman (and Young) discovered a shocking erosion of working capital on the Central and began an agressive program to build cash and restructure the management. A vast program of scrap sales infused the cash that staved off bankruptcy.

The real untold tragedy here was that NYC was always willing to sell its retired equipment for scrap value. The railfan mindset at the time, however, was focused on "donations" and this - with very limited exceptions - was not acceptable to NYC.

As an example, I remember a conversation with the late F. Nelson Blount, who as late as 1967 was seeking equipment donations from the NYC, yet callously referred to NYC's gift to him of an original calendar painting ("As the Centuries Pass in the Night") as a "peace offering"!

Now, it's true that NYC didn't donate much equipment, nor did they favor the operation of steam excursions over their lines, and AEP could be (and often was) brusque and insensitive. NYC under AEP did, however, bootstrap itself just enough to make it to the merger, modernizing its plant and fleet, and introducing innovative services - all against a backdrop of onerous regulation that too few seem to remember now.

Nothing today can restore the loss of the magnificent Hudsons. I, too, feel it's a shame that at least one wasn't set aside.

It's also a great shame that none of the preservationists with financial means stepped up to the plate in time!!!...

  by cgwrrkid
As a AEP sidebar ... was hired to work at Collinwood summer of 64 as NYC was doing extensive college recruting. During the summer they sent all of us from around the system into NYC - was it 477 Lexington - for a few days to be briefed by all the department heads and of course AEP himself.

An interesting experience for a young man intent on the industry and looking for the right nitch. One of my fellow seat mates asked me at the conclusion what I thought about the Central, working for them and their prospects in the future. I remember my reply .. that I liked what I saw on the RR (had full train and engine passes and was single then and used them) but I felt when they sold all their air rights over Manhattan and ran out of tracks #3 and #4 to tear up I thought they would be in trouble. Sadly I think I was right.

I will say AEP, from my brief association, could sure be charming and persuasive when he wanted to impress us young lads. Having known a number of old RR heads in management they could be hard as nails too.

  by John P.
AEP was probably looking at all the downtime and intensive maintenance that each steam locomotive required between runs as sucking the lifeblood out of the Central and downright despised them at the time.

  by shlustig
New York District and System Operations Offices were at 466 Lexington Ave.

Executive Offices were at 230 Park Ave.
  by Otto Vondrak
I hate digging up old topics, but it seems that 2933 is getting some cosmetic attention...

Remarks: Mohawk Makeover. Restoration at the Museum of Transportation is picking up. NYC 4-8-2 Mohawk type steam locomotive #2933 still has a long way to go in its restoration, but progress is being made. Contrary to other railroads, the New York Central elected to call their 4-8-2s "Mohawks" instead of "Mountains". This engine is one of only two NYC 4-8-2s that survived the torch. Also in the picture is a set of trucks from a trolley car, most likely the St. Louis car currently under restoration in the shop. The museum's late hours on this day allowed me to get this shot, which is usually not available.